I Fell in Love (just a little) -Writer Blues

I fell in love with you a little when I read it. Pixels or paper, it wouldn’t have mattered. Though  there is something to be said for the slip smooth, the crinkle, of paper. But the pixels reach me so much faster, a bullet hitting its mark.

Slide your glossy razor fingernail down my breastbone, peel back a layer. And another.

Focus your laser insight into my eyes. Blind me with your gifts. I won’t have to see my own overly-dramatic adolescent ramblings.

You can never make a great writer out of a good writer, a great writer once said. Mr. King, what a wound. Not so wide as a church door, but ’tis enough, ’twill serve.

So I will wash my mouth out with adverbs. I will slice away planks of purple prose and drop them into the pot with what I thought were wild parsnips. On high. Until boiling. Drink. Sleep.

Incoherent. Disjointed. What is this, anyway? It doesn’t make sense. It does, too. A flashing sign overhead, “EDIT ME.” Spellcheck. Wait, I need to look up “lie” and “lay” again. It’s the mechanics of cameras all over again.

I’m tired, but inspired. And it starts over every. single. day.

You don’t care. And I’m fine with it. I will keep working at going from competent to good while you spill great all over the place. I’ll wipe it up. I’ll like it. And I’m not even mad about it.

Actually, you do care. And that’s what makes it all worth something.

Abstract works better in acrylics. Eyes roll. “Wow, she’s trying way too hard.”

“Fishing.”

“Yeah.”

One foot in front of the other. Writing mix on the playlist. Focus. Steady as she goes. O CAPTAIN! my captain!

Be grateful it’s out there, all of that beauty. Stop worrying. Don’t show any lack of confidence, it’s deadly you know.

Is it?

Well, if that were true, I’d have died at twelve.

“Who are you talking to?”

“Does it matter?”

I can if I say I can. From competent to good is better than “never tried.”

 

 

 

 

Red Archer 2016

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My friend Tracy has been to London and Edinburgh – so she invited me over to pick her brain about that as research for the second book in the Red August series – Red Archer.

She had a wonderful little journal from her trip to Britain when she was a teen, so that was perfect – getting an American teen girl’s impressions of parts of Europe, and in the same era that my book series is set in!  How about THAT!?  PLUS – I got to hang with my pal Tracy and she made me food and we had wine.

We don’t get to see each other face-to-face too often, so we had lots of catching up to do.  We talked about travel and men and love and hurt.  We talked about sex and lost loves and what lessons we’ve learned here and there.  We also talked about things like how switches on the walls in the UK work and what time it gets dusky.

I took lots of notes.  But we didn’t make it all the way through her journal, so I’m hoping to head back down there for another bout of research in the coming months.

OH!  I almost forgot.  She also made some freaking DELICIOUS spiced cake cupcakes.  They were SO GOOD I could have eaten one every day for breakfast for a week.  Do I have amazing friends or what?

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Look how cute these cupcakes are – and her arm was hurty too!  ❤ ❤ ❤

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My First Review

Here is the very first public review I’ve received on Red August, ever.  This mini-review is from @abibliophilesbookmark on Instagram and it is based on the 1/3 of Red August you can read for free on Smashwords.

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Smashing Words and Other Adventures

RedAugust_lowres_800wideWE DID IT!  Between my editor and my proofreaders and many reads and re-reads and re-re-reads (I could do that about ten times and it would be about right), the manuscript for Red August was uploaded to Smashwords.  I uploaded a previous copy, but the formatting was a bit off and we hadn’t linked the Table of Contents – SO MANY THINGS – so Will futzed with all that stuff and VOILA, I got it uploaded.  And guess what?  You can read 1/3 of the book on Smashwords for free RIGHT NOW, before it’s even released on August 19th.  You can also pre-order the book through Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iBooks.

Yesterday was kind of a magical day.  We got up super early (Will got up super early, I got up an hour behind him).  By 12:30 the specially formatted for ebook manuscript was uploaded to Smashwords.  Then, we got ready to head down to a birthday party for my beautiful, smart and amazing friend Tracy, who lives about an hour south of us.  We were a bit late to her party, but we stayed extra late to make up for it.  I had SO MUCH FUN.  First of all – BOOK UPLOADED without errors.  So YAY.  THEN I got to see my wonderful friend for her birthday at a lovely bistro with tasty food and wine.  During the party one of her friends pulled into the parking lot in a sexy new red Corvette convertible and I started singing “Little Red Corvette” and then I met the woman who owned it and she took me for a drive.  WHICH WAS AWESOME.   Did I mention that the weather here in Maryland was BEAUTIFUL?  Well, it was.  It was the kind of day you would order, if you could order weather, for convertible driving.  Everybody was sweet to me and I think I made a couple of new friends.  AND somebody pre-ordered my book right there in front of me.  Then, on the way home we found out that my friend, talented playwright Audrey Cefaly, won a pretty amazing Samuel French contest in New York city with her play The Gulf — which is now going to be PUBLISHED by them!  She’s kind of a big deal, y’all!  When we got home my favorite parking space was empty at a time it normally wouldn’t be.  I was exhausted from not enough sleep all week and all the fun, but I was excited too, so I had a hard time getting to sleep.  So what do ya do?  You pull up the social media.  I  looked at Instagram because it’s the social media choice with the least amount of dissonance and nightmare material.  And lo, a nice comment from an instagrammer said they were really looking forward to my book.  I finally made it to sleep not long after that.

It’s been a busy and fulfilling week.  I’m hoping to get things working on Amazon in the next couple of days and I will be able to just focus on marketing and book 2, Red Archer.

Sensual Sunday – Sunshine

We lie in a puddle of light.  The earth on my back.  Dirt, grass, dandelions, crushed under my weight.   And your weight pressing down, again and again.  I look up, your hair like a halo of sunshine.  Your chin is high, too far from my mouth to kiss.  So, I follow, with my eyes, the contour from your chin, along your jawline, to earlobe, to collarbone.  Pale, almost as the bone beneath the flesh.  I lift my head to fasten my lips over the protrusion on your landscape.  I then press my tongue into the hollow near your throat and you moan.  I close my eyes and lay back.  Rays warm my face and nothing else exists but you and me and this union in the sun.

Sensual Sunday – Bodice Ripper Train Ride

Sensual Sunday is a weekly sensual micro-story, poem or word association. It’s mostly sexy writing practice. I encourage others to do Sensual Sunday – share your links with me!

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This is a bit longer than a micro-story so we’ll just call it a short story. This is in the erotica category, so it’s NSFW. It is a rough draft. I have not gone through to do edits. I am still working on tense shifting, so I try hard these days not to shift tense in the first draft, but I have yet to manage that feat. I am sure somewhere in this story there are improper tense shifts. I can’t promise that I won’t go through and edit something if I see it later and it bothers the hell out of me. But part of these Sensual Sunday writing exercises is to push outside of my comfort zone. And leaving barely edited work hanging out there is definitely outside of my comfort zone.

Do you have any special writing exercises?  Do you have a blog where you practice?  I’d love to hear from you!

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SStrain

Lindy straightened her hat and stepped onto the train, a dainty gloved hand extended to the conductor. She placed one perfectly heeled white pump onto the first large step and felt her dress catch a draft and fly out behind her. She let out a little yelp and the conductor quickly saved her reputation by swatting the hem back towards her calves.

“Thank you,” she said, demurely. He simply nodded and touched the brim of his hat.

The train was mostly empty and it would be a long ride to Memphis from Sacramento, so once in the back she opened her small suitcase and fished for the bodice ripper her older sister had insisted she take along. She looked around, saw only a couple of passengers at least six rows up, grasped the book like a child thieving from the cookie jar and tucked it behind her back. She snapped the metal clasps closed with two satisfying pops and slunk down into her seat.

Proper young unmarried ladies just didn’t read this sort of thing. But she would be married in a few days’ time and she wanted to be prepared for the wedding night. Her mother never prepared her for the “big night” and her sister did her best to explain things. But Cora said the book would give her more detailed descriptions of what to expect. She crossed her legs, cheated her body towards the window and hunkered over the pulp as she began to read the first pages. It was long before the pirate in the story was popping a maiden’s bodice with his cutlass.

These scenes were full of words that Lindy had never seen before, but she somehow knew exactly what they meant. She devoured each page like a rich, sinful bon-bon. After a solid hour of reading, Lindy began to grow restless. She felt herself swell a number of times throughout the pages. At one point she gasped out loud. She kept shifting in her seat, trying to simultaneously ignore and relieve the ache.

After several hours of reading and the light failing, she left her car to use the lady’s room. She tidied up her dampness, feeling somewhat silly and sexy somehow. She splashed some cold water on the back of her neck and took a few deep breaths. She chided herself for allowing her hormones to get carried away, but she also couldn’t wait to get back to her seat to finish the book. She even took it to the lady’s room, only – of course – because she didn’t want anybody to find it. In all honesty, she couldn’t bear to put it down.

On her return one of the doors popped open and a man, tall and handsome and probably ten years older than she was, emerged. He was wearing a white dress shirt, rolled up at the sleeves. A royal blue tie with green diamonds, loosened and his top button was undone. They almost collided.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there,” he said. His voice as rich as molasses. Eyes as green as emeralds. She looked down at his left hand. No ring.

Lindy felt herself start to perspire, even though the car was pleasantly cool for June. She smiled at him and pressed herself against a bit of wall as he started to squeeze by. As he did she put her hand on his torso and said, “It’s a long trip to Memphis.”

His forehead creased and he tilted his head to the side, as if trying to figure her out. He looked down at her and smiled a crooked grin and nodded, “Yes, it is.”

She held up the novel she’d been reading, a pirate on the front with a woman in a chemise draped artistically over his arm, both of them with windswept hair, the title in a lusty shade of red shouted out from the cover, Pirate Plunders Pink Pearls.

“I…I brought this book to read.” She took a deep breath and held is gaze. Her chest rising and falling and the sound of the train beginning to sound muffled the world became a single focal point – his mouth.

His face flushed. His breathing stopped for a moment. She saw his body give an almost imperceptible shiver. He let out a long breath. “Is there something I can help you with?”

She opened his compartment door, which was strewn with books and papers, turned to him and backed into it. “I can’t…you know…I can’t do everything. But I’m…well, you know. I’m getting married in a few days and I just…I want to, well…have, well, I’m kind of restless, on account of reading this book. Do you think you can help me?”

He stepped into the compartment and shut the door behind him. For a moment Lindy felt a trapped, and like she could be murdered and it would serve her right for doing something so sinful. But she was drunk with hormones and want and in a few short days she could never have sex with anybody else again. It was making all her proper pearly buttons pop.

It wasn’t long, though, before her mouth was on his and her hands were inside of his shirt, feeling all of his firm, smooth flesh. They kept their mouths pressed together as he pulled off his shirt. She pulled away to watch him remove his pants and as he took down his shorts his cock sprung forward. She gasped out loud a felt a little faint. It was longer than she thought it would be and bouncing and swaying as it stuck straight out from his body.

“Sit down,” she said. He swiped away papers and books and did as she commanded. He settled onto the cushioned portion of the first class seat.

As he watched, Lindy kicked off her shoes. She put a leg up next to him and unhooked her garter, then the other side. She pulled off the stockings and tossed them behind her, floating down like feathers, resting onto the bench seat behind her. She grinned and locked eyes with him as she reached under her dress and pulled down her panties and stepped out of them. She stepped towards him, pushing him to lean back a little and she straddled him, resting her slit along his erect cock, sandwiching it between them. The length of him was nestled in her cleft. She unbuttoned the top portion of her dress as he pushed it down around her shoulders. He nestled his face into her ample cleavage as he reached around back to remove the significant undergarment. The elastic relaxed after the popping of the fasteners and she tossed the brazier aside, holding her arms up, she let them swing free.

He looked at her, as if in awe at her rosy nipples and the beautiful milky orbs that they decorated. He hefted the glorious weight of them in his hands, cupping and lifting and repeating, as if he could never do it enough times. This made her swell so greatly between her legs she thought she might burst like an overripe berry. Skin splitting. Juices running all over. She was slick with want and began to rub back and forth against the length of his hardness. He cupped and suckled and rubbed and moaned as she pressed her hands hard against the wall behind him. The motion of the train added to the rocking motion of their rhythm.

She could feel the lust rise in her like never before and couldn’t have stopped rubbing if the train derailed. She felt as if a force of nature, as if an animal acting on instinct, her hips compelled to slide her wetness, her soft downy cleft along him. She was attached to him. Tingles ran up her spine, to her nipples, to her mound, train sounds, his hands, his mouth, all a jumble, dizzying as she rocked and rocked until she heard herself yelling and felt her thighs clasp and her spine make an arch over him as she spasmed and she felt silent, even though her mouth was wide to continue her cries.

At this moment she felt his legs tense and his body lean into hers as he thrust his hips upwards. He pushed up her skirt again, and they both watched as his seed erupted over his belly, some making it almost as far as his neck.

They were both panting as she dismounted and sat next to him. He wiped away his semen with a handkerchief and put his arm around her as she nestled into his chest where she fell asleep. He soon was sleeping, too.

Sensual Sunday – Spring Forward

Sensual Sunday is a weekly sensual micro-story, poem or word association. It’s mostly sexy writing practice. I encourage others to do Sensual Sunday – share your links with me!

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Spring Forward

Springing, showing, sliding, slipping, slowly

Budding, blooming, bouncing, bobbing,

Out, obediently, outrageously, obsessed

Popping, pink, purple, passion, persist

Firming, fragile, fractured, forward, facing

Poking, pouncing, pounding, poking, perspire

Dangling, dancing, dappled, delicious, dizzying

Tempting, touching, tearing, turgid, tenacious, temple

Worship, watching, wishing, wincing, warping

Rocking, rolling, rising, reeling

Swelling, spurting, shooting, streaming

Careening, calling, calming, collapsing

Serenely, softly, sleeping, spent, sated

Where Writers Work

What does your writing space look like?

I used to like to share images of my art studio and read about the way other artists organized their spaces and decorated.

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Although I still do art and still have plenty of art supplies and use my tiny apartment as both a writing and art studio, this blog is about my writing.  This is where I spend a large portion of each day, blogging, tweeting, tumbling and currently I am writing the second in my Red August series – a modern Red Riding Hood tale set in the 1980s.

I have two screens because I’m also a photographer and do a lot of photo processing.  It actually comes in really handy when writing too – to have documents and research in my left screen and my work in the main screen.

I keep my notebooks nearby.  The Moleskine notebook that says “Ideas” on it is for whenever I have a random writing idea.  For example I had some inspirations about how to frame a modern Cinderella story.  I just grab it and jot them down.  I have a notebook for Red August and a notebook for general erotica and one for the short stories I want to podcast with Will.

I’m hoping to get into vlogging, but I have been somewhat reticent about it.  I’ve found it difficult to just get blogging.  Maybe this week will be the week!  I’m happy to hear any of your vlogging tips!

Below are more images of my space.  Under all of the images are links to some of the stuff in my space – like the composition notebook and where I got that cool “Heather” drawing.

Please be sure to share your studio space with me!  I would love to see it!

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Mermaid watercolor in gold frame – Ching Chou Kuik

Heather graphic art (hand drawn) – Shelly Cusic

Inspirational Clay Tiles – Tammy Vitale

Clay Moo Mini-Card holder – Gina Mai Denn Pottery

The Gilded Tongue – this book is fantastic.  It’s full of all kinds of wonderful words!

Writer’s Market – required tool.

Woe is I – For the grammar phobic.

Moleskine – great for sketching, jotting ideas.  Has a nice vintage feel with its simple design and stitched pages. A trusted medium for decades, for artists and writers to store their ideas.

I wish I could remember the name of the artist who made my mirror.  I’ve long since lost the card.  It was purchased at Main Street Gallery in Prince Frederick, MD, which has closed.

Composition notebook, with its sturdy cardboard cover in black and white splotches is also a trusted medium for writers.  They store nicely and fit well on bookshelves.  The heavy cover means it’s easy to decorate to your liking.

There is a lot of other stuff – but it would take me a while to list them all.  If you have a question about anything specific, let me know.

*** To vegans who have found this studio space blog entry through my Gypsy Siren website – I’ve had the feathers for over ten years.  I don’t buy feathers anymore unless they are synthetic.

Writing Process Stuffs

If you have suggestions and software you’re excited about, be sure to leave a message in the comments!  I want to know all about it!

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I was talking with a friend about some of the writing process stuff I do.  This was pertaining primarily to publishing novellas and novels.  There are a lot of great tools out there for writers and some of the software is technically advanced and helpful.

You can go old school and send out query letters to agents and publishers – you will need a copy of Writer’s Market.  Or, you can do what even some established authors are doing and switch to self-publishing. In recent years independent publishing has had quite the boom.  That’s pretty good for people who are anxious to just get their stuff out there or who don’t want to wait for replies or who are just sick of rejections.  But remember, publishing on your own has its own set of problems, too, as you will find in my friend’s blog HERE.

I am always curious about the processes of other people.  In the e-book version of  Water for Elephants there was an author Q&A that was wonderful.  So, in case anybody is interested in what my process is for novels it is very simple.

1 – I make a notebook.  In the case of Red August, I used a cheap composition notebook and decorated and made a pocket in the front.  I divided it into three sections for notes on all three books in the series.  This is helpful not only before writing the books, but during the editing process as well.

2 – I draw “props” that are in the story that might get complicated.  Like August’s wooden box that is full of treasures. So when I revisit the item later, I can be sure to remember all that is in the box and what it looked like.  I make family trees, so I can keep track of births, deaths and the years and ages people should be and the way they are related to each other.

3 – I write in Word.  Here are some links to the proper formatting of manuscripts:

http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/what-are-the-guidelines-for-formating-a-manuscript

4 – I give myself deadlines.

There is usually plenty of research that goes into writing a novel.  For me, there was a lot of time spent looking into original Red Riding Hood stories as well as werewolf lore and Celtic traditions.  If the piece is set in a specific era that has an atmosphere I want to convey, there is usually research related to that as well.

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Sensual Sunday – Bloom

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Soft pink petals, parting.  You pluck them.  Pastel hues, gathered into bunches.  An offering that makes me smile.  I say a tiny blessing that I trust this gift.  Once upon a time I used to get flowers from somebody else.   Receiving them never felt as pleasurable as this.  More often I felt the thorns in those offerings.  As though there was an apology in them, for things I didn’t know were happening.  Sad things, behind my back. I blink the unhappy thought away.

I smell the bouquet and and sneeze.  A tiny squeak that always elicits giggles from anybody nearby.  Your face is warm and your energy is open.  You wrap your arms around me and I bury my face in, inhaling your smells and feeling the texture of your cotton shirt against my cheek. I grasp a wrinkle of jersey in my free hand and press hard into you.

I take them to the sink and fill a faded blue glass antique jar with water.  The smell of green as I snip of blades to tidy the ends.  Dropping them into the vessel I parade them to the table, sitting them on the lace tablecloth near the tea cups resting in a puddle of sunshine.

There is beauty in these small things.  These gestures.  And the beauty blooms and grows in new ways inside of me now that so much pain is behind me.  I am not in a constant state of receiving apologies for things I don’t know that have occurred.  It is plain.  You offer a gift that you were thinking of me and I accept the gift with trust.

We lay down together, spooning in our own ray of sun.  Your hand resting in the valley of my hip.   Your breath on the back of my neck.

“Tell me a story,” I say, only slightly childish.

“Once upon a time there was a mermaid…” you begin a tale made from familiar places and happy endings as I drift off to sleep.

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